Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Somali shop owner charged with lying about son with possible terrorist link

SALT LAKE CITY — A Somali shop owner faces federal charges for allegedly lying to FBI agents regarding the whereabouts of her son, who authorities apparently suspect could be associated with a terrorist network.

Wearing a Muslim hijab over her jail jumpsuit, Lul Noor Abdi, 42, of Salt Lake City, appeared at a detention hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court. About 30 members of the Somali community, including Abdi's mother, crowded into the small courtroom and in a hallway.

Abdi faces two counts of making false statements to the FBI. Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba ordered her to be released from jail, with restrictions, including the seizure of her passport.

Abdi told agents that she had taken her son to live in Uganda, when she had really taken him to live in Somalia, according to the indictment. Abdi also allegedly told agents and officers that she was supporting her son by sending money to an individual in Uganda on her son's behalf when, in fact, she was sending money to a person in Somalia.

After the hearing, assistant U.S. attorney John Huber wouldn't reveal what led to Abdi's arrest or why the FBI questioned her, other than to say, "A young man in Somalia is a concern to the United States."

The FBI, he said, is "just trying to find out what the story is."

Huber said the son has never lived in Utah.

Source: Desert News

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